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Wednesday Wakeup Call: Exclusive on Nutting ownership

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

>> The Wednesday column pays homage to the architect of the Penguins’ 15-game winning streak that ended last night at Consol.

And boy, did it end with a blah and a half …

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News coverage this morning is by beat man Rob Rossi.

Not much to say about this one, really. Tomas Vokoun didn’t have it, Matt Niskanen didn’t want it, and Tyler Kennedy never had it, and a team that had just turned in a perfect month turned in a perfect dud to finish it. That’s kind of how it goes.

Here’s what some of the athletes had to say …

No big deal. Nothing to see here. Some games are lost, and the Penguins never skated with the Sabres in this one, from faceoff to final horn.

>> Fascinating, revealing Trib exclusive this morning about Bob Nutting from a former Pirates minority owner who recently sold his stake. It’s by Jeff Oliver, sports editor at our Valley Independent newspaper, and it’s outstanding work.

There’s plenty of grist for those who feel either way about Nutting. Those who like will point out the minority owner confirming that profits are not taken out of the Pirates (something I’ve been writing for years now),  and those who don’t like will point out the minority owner’s lament at the lack of capital and lack of risk (something else I’ve been writing for years).

In general, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the Nutting ownership that hiring better people wouldn’t solve. But that, of course, is itself on Nutting.

>> But man, who could ever imagine that Pitt could match the headline font by announcing that Steven Adams was declaring for the NBA and that Rushel Shell was transferring out of the football program?

Top basketball recruit, top football recruit … boom! Same day!

The two are very different tales, very different backgrounds, very different reasons for leaving. I won’t delve into this too deeply because Joe Starkey’s going at this in his Thursday column, but I will say that be wary of excessive excitement when landing talents such as these, because history says that they won’t be around long.

That’s not to suggest Pitt shouldn’t pursue them. But it might be cautionary when turning up noses at the likes of a Brad Wanamaker or Devin Street who sticks around till the end. There’s value in both types.

>> It’s not just Mike Rice who needs to be fired at Rutgers. It’s the AD and school president who saw this stunning practice video last November and decided to bury it …

Sickening stuff from the former Robert Morris and Pitt coach, but good work by ESPN.

>> Here again is yesterday’s TribLIVE Radio show podcast, featuring Matt Cooke of the Penguins and the Trib’s Pitt football beat man Jerry DiPaola.

And here’s video of the opening rant on the welcome demise of the Penguins’ blues …

>> I’ll be out of commission for most of today for reasons some of you know. Hoping to make it over to Pirates-Cubs tonight, but we’ll see.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

371 Comments

  1. Good luck DK

    My m-in- law got a new hip yesterday, I understand the concern and the waiting.

    Stuart

    DK: Thank you, Stu. It’s scheduled for 10 a.m. No idea how long it’ll take or anything.

    Thanks to everyone, actually, who posted the kind wishes yesterday, even those who thought my off-day would have been better invested in other ways.

  2. Big way-to-go for Vokoun for his part this year, and even for tonight. That first goal was a complete defensive lapse and the fourth was a fluke. You could make a case for the third being a fluke too if you wanted to. Pens got down 3 goals and couldn’t come back, no harm in that. At least they got some good PK practice, right?

    Now, I’ll preface this next part by saying that I’m not a huge Pitt fan, but I don’t really understand the Rushel Shell hatred. And by hatred I mean that right now Mark Madden is on Twitter making hypotheticals about Shell failing three drug tests for marijuana. I know he gets paid to move the needle, but it’s not just him either. And people are buying into it is the worst part. Maybe it’s true, I don’t know–I’m in Idaho; but 19 year olds have friends, and if I’m a a friend of Shell’s, or a former teammate, or a fellow recruit, it might make me think twice about Pitt.

  3. Is DK having hip surgery? Good luck! But you won’t need it. High rate of success for hip operations. Had my right hip resurfaced the August before last. Set off airport security alarms now with my titanium parts, but that’s about it. All the pain is gone and I can run hard, too (not that the rest of me is always willing, but that’s another story). Push yourself during the rehab — you’ll be glad you did.

  4. @ DK -thoughts go out to your mother and family during this time. Wishing a speedy recovery.

    As for Pitt, good gosh can these programs catch a break, Rushel Shell gone, Steven Adams gone even though he vowed to stay and has much he needs to work on in his game sans the size he is blessed with. Ziegler transferring just unreal.

    To Shell I say good bye, pampered kid who must learn to achieve anything in life hard work must accompany it. Coach Chryst is instilling accountability and an expectation level the team needs to meet to reach the levels it hopes to, I think this will actually bring the team closer together. As for Shell, he has major responsibilities in his life caused by his own actions, time he mans up and grows up….wish him well as you don’t always get a third chance.

    As for Pitt hoops, I hope Coach Dixon has some aces up his sleeve, as this team is very short and now has multiple scholarships to give out and a glaring need at center. These kids nowadays just transfer at the drop of the hat, and it is happening at many schools each year. It is different in the real world where you earn what you get, things will not be handed to them in the game of life.

    On that note let’s hope for Pirates win later today.

  5. So I read the Nutting piece by Jeff Oliver. I get it that Nutting is not exactly raping and pillaging the Pirates just to line his pockets. But he and his father insinuated their clan into a position to use this quasi-public trust and giant slice of heritage of Pittsburgh as simply an income stream for their family. Please don’t tell us we’re stuck with the Nuttings F.O.R.E.V.E.R! No! No! No! People have fought revolutions to cast off the yoke of lesser tyrannies.

    I’m no Hugo Chavez, but if the next mayor can make a challenge-resistant argument for a little case of eminent domain, he or she will forever be in the pantheon of Pittsburgh heroes, along with Maz, Roberto, Willie and Mean Joe (and even that guy William Pitt).

    I say FREE THE PIRATES!!!

    • If you get the pitchforks, I will get the torches…….. ;)

    • I wouldn’t say it’s “forever”, Ghost. The next time the Pirates need a new ballpark, serious pressure could be put on ownership to sell the team before more public funding is used for that endeavor. On the other hand, while not forever, it will still be quite some time before that opportunity arises.

    • To me Nutting’s biggest fault, his hamartia as you may, is his loyalty, or inflexibility to change. NH has been learning on the job since day 1. That is OK in some jobs, when you are an apprentice. But when you are walking the tightrope-without-a-net that is the parsimonious Pirates, it is not a recipe for success.

      Which is pretty much what we are seeing

      • Ancient Greek references are very rare on this blog site. The aforementioned hamartia is, unfortunately, a fatal flaw. It certainly doesn’t rise to the level of Oed and his Ma, and the consequences of their relationship, but 20+ years of losing is certainly a baseball Greek tragedy.

        Stuart

  6. —-You cant engrave a 15 game winning streak. Disco has 3 weeks to get it right.

    —- The Nutting piece is a sobering reminder that under this ownership, winning just isnt a priority. Yes, the team will stay in Pittsburgh, yes, you will get a nice Burger Bar, yes, you will get 70′s bands and a nice view. But there isnt the capital, or desire to win. Get used to it, Bucco fans.

    —-Man, things just do NOT look good at my alma mater. Adams is getting bad advice, he isnt ready for the next level…….. and may not even get drafted. Shell seems to be lost…….literally. Zeigler, 2 transfers in 2 years? Really? Would love to be a fly on the wall of Peterson’s office…………..

    —- Shocking video of Rice. Which is worse, his actions, or the actions of his superiors? All should be swept out……… to the swamps of Northern Jersey.

    I think that DK would rather be anywhere than a hospital today. As a fellow (bad) heart person, I sincerely wish both Mom, and son the best today. And for many days to come.

    • 3 weeks to “get it right”?

      He just went undefeated for an entire month. They gave up 26 goals in 15 games (1.73 GAA) while scoring 3.53 per game, best in the entire league.

      How much more right does he need to be? Does he other team have to quit halfway through each game? Till they envoke the mercy rule?

  7. DK… please let me know if you need anything.

  8. Great article on Bob Nutting (aka the Nutting Regime) by Jeff Oliver.

    I massively welcome any and all information on a man that has yet to prove himself as a worthy owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    As a lifetime Pirate fan….I want answers, and I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for them.

    In recent days, some have criticized myself (and others) for continuously questioning the Regime. There is NO harm in questioning the Nutting Regime, and there is certainly no loyalty concerns in questioning them.

    To those who think it’s repetitive, think again. It’s no more repetitive than what the Nutting family has brought to the Pirates since the latter part of 1996.

    • Well now it seems we have some answers. So some of the repetitive questioning should maybe stop.

    • Your boring. Go away. I will continue to criticize you when you have nothing else to say but the same garbage over and over again. Send your emails to Nutting if you want answers.

      • Dude,

        Do NOT make personal attacks on folks here. It’s immature.

        Everyone has a right to chime in their opinions here, whether you and/or I agree or not.

        Just don’t read his comments if you don’t appreciate them.

        This blog is like Ellis Island——we send NO ONE away!

        • Well said Groat.

          I rarely agree (didn’t say never) agree with Daquido, but when DK features an article about Bob Nutting that rehashes the issue, how could we not expect to have discussion on the subject?

          What I sometimes find boring is when the same few bloggers on both sides of the issue try to turn every conversation into a forum on their one note symphonies.

          Honestly that hasn’t happened here and the resident loonies are to be commended for that and for generally avoiding personal attacks.

        • Groat,
          RobertoForever, and NMR attacked me the other day when I posted something.
          I hate to say it, but there are certain posters here who want to chase people away, and keep a little “circle” of people from the P-G days when DK was over there.
          I came here to have better discussions than other blog sites, and DK and some others welcomed me, but I will not tolerate attacks. Shame some people have to resort to that. Thank you for being a voice of reason.

          If someone doesnt like a comment, just pass by.
          Plain. Simple. Easy.

          . :)

          • That was to Groat’s 10:22 comment. Dang, sometimes this gets confusing.

            Lots of leeway here, but telling someone to go away just ain’t right IMHO.

      • TJ – Boring?
        I could care less.
        What I’ve seen out of the Nutting Regime could bore a gnat.

      • Teddy Bear, you’ve gotten yourself in trouble again…be good!

    • I don’t find you boring Daquido

  9. Hope all goes well for you mom today, Dejan.

  10. Just read the Nutting article.

    In one sense, I want a winner and would like to see an owner who would be willing to do whatever it takes.

    But can you really blame him for not getting caught up in the crazy economics of the game? How about someone like Johan Santana of the Mets? Signed a huge deal with them, is out for the season in the last year of that contract, and is mostly, a major disappointment. I think it cost something like $3 million per win over the life of his contract. Is that worth it? There’s no guarantee that a new owner would willingly lose tens of millions of dollars every year to have a winning team.

    Sure, much of the Pirates’ misfortunes have come from their own poor management in drafting and developing players, and squandering what little extra money they have on washed up veterans and scrap heap projects. But no low revenue team is successful over a long term, year after year.

    It’s easy to look at the success of the other pro teams in town, the Steelers and Penguins. Yes, much better managed than the Pirates. You may even say polar opposites.

    Long time hockey fans in this town should remember when the Pens had to sell off their best players because they couldn’t afford them. They should also remember the franchise declaring bankruptcy and nearly losing the franchise because of the way the economics were going in the NHL.

    If the Pens and Steelers had to have played under the same financial conditions as the Pirates all along, would they have won these championships in recent years? I know, at least, they wouldn’t be in the running year after year, like now.

    • Very well stated. Why participate in craziness that does not guarantee winning, and only adds to the spiraling costs.

      MLB’s economics are a sad state of affairs. But Nutting’s approach is hardly evil or immoral.

    • I blame Bud Selig.

  11. The TribHKY coverage never mentions the fact that SID, this years TEAM MVP, was missing from the game, and how bad the first line looked without him. I’m sure this played a large part in the loss. Sid makes Kunitz look like Jagr, while, when centered by TK, Kunitz looks like what he is: a hard working net front garbage goaler.

    • That’s a bit harsh, Deb. To me, the only player who looked good, was Doug Murray. Fleury was fine when he came in. Iginla was trying all night…and getting stoned by Miller. Seems like most of the guys showed up in sweaters, empty sweaters. No heart, no passion, no urgency. Maybe this is a good thing. It will remind them they have to work for it.

      • I also agree with Jandy, Deb. It’s pretty hard to play the wing when your center iceman knows nothing about being a center iceman. The centerman is a playmaker and Kennedy knows nothing about that. He’s nothing more than a run-and-gun third line winger. So how do you expect the wingers to play when the 3 man line is composed of really only 2 men?
        Did you watch the game at all last night? Dustin Jeffrey looked pretty good as a playmaker when he was finally given the chance to center that line. You could see his ability to set up Kunitz and Dupuis both. By the time he got that chance it was too late though.That should have been the decision at the start of the game IMO.

        • I used to stick up for TK. No more. He’s shown that he hasn’t got what it takes. Last night was the last nail in the coffin, IMO.
          Vitale should start every game ahead of TK. TK is in because of his salary. What a waste.
          Also, our faceoffs where abysmal last night. Why in the Lord’s name would you NOT play Vitale?

          • It would be interesting to see if Jeffrey or Vitale would be the better fit on the top line but I agree that both need to play somewhere; either top line or fourth line. Vitale for the faceoffs and Jeffrey as the playmaker.
            Malkin and Sutter round it out on the other lines.
            By the way….I hate it when people talk about “the fourth line”.
            We should say “four lines”; each having a specific role and one no more important than the other. (Just a soap box ramble here.)

          • +like comment. -dislike for Peanut Kennedy. Heard he was slingin goobers at the opener on Tuesday…

      • Seriously though, if they were going to put a winger to center the 1st line, they shoulda put Iginla in there. I know they’re trying to develop the chemistry thing with the 2nd line and the 2nd line did look good last night but meh. Now that the streak is over hopefully mr bylsma will do a bit more line tinkering.

  12. Thoughts for the day.

    1. Prayers at 10:00

    2. Lustig INDIRECTLY highlights what I think is the biggest weakness of Nutting ownership. I don’t necessarily agree with Lustig that crazy spending is the only way to win, at least not without first trying the opposite of this weakness…

    If you own a low revenue team and wish to stay in the black, then it requires you to have (and spend on) top flight, experienced management. Not guys like Frank AND Neal AND Kyle who are ALL stepping up for the FIRST time to that level of leadership with a club. On the job training with less resource provides no wiggle room and no safety net. Not saying that all three guys (four with the draft guy) were a mistake (though maybe). Just saying that all of them TOGETHER brought out the weakness of the team.

    A “retread” or two in the mix, along with a bright young star or two, would have been a better mix. Rather than going with ALL guys you HOPE are bright young stars.

    And the combo of Executive Hope with low payroll meant that there was not enough money spent to allow them to cover some mistakes with spending on A or even B free agent talent.

    • Forgot…

      3. Streak was great fun. Now shift focus to playoff prep. Meaning: management and selection of lines, D-pairings, penalty and PK units, especially in light of the change-everything injuries. To me, W-L from this point is second to knowing exactly what you and the skaters are doing once the playoffs start.

      • Yeah, like Chicago. Everybody knows their role. No surprises there.

      • Exactly – streak fun – change-everything injuries. Agree 100% W/L not as important as getting lines sorted out ect. As deep as the Pens are they have some work to do. Lot of charachter guys on that team. I believe they will be just fine.
        GO PENS

    • This is a great point.

      And even further, Nutting was stepping up to a new job as managing partner when all of the hires were made.

    • Drew, you hit the nail on the head. As we have seen, it is possible for a low revenue team to win without going into the red year after year. We have seen it happen with other teams. What those teams had was a management team who found players who fit specific roles and were willing to play in the role they were asked. The biggest example of this was the Moneyball Athletics team, but there have certainly been others that have come along since that have been successful without breaking the bank. If I’m Nutting, I’m cleaning house of this management team and spending a little bit more to bring in a management team who has experience and knows how to work within the system.

    • wow…That was a pretty good post Drew. Guess what they say about a blind squirrel… oops, never mind.
      :-)

  13. Another must win game for my rangers. And another probable first-round preview game. Other than the money Adams may be making a mistake. And if Mr. Nutting is such a rational owner why can’t he understand that this is the perfect time to sell? I know he wants to keep it in the family, but from a business standpoint he might be better off moving away from that position.

    • If you were the owner and you BELIEVED your team and the GMT team you put together were on the verge of fixing a historic losing situation, do you think selling would even be thought of for 1 second?

  14. Prayers for your Mom DK!

  15. I saw the Mike Rice video. What a psycho. And I hope that not one basketball player signs up to play there while he is working there.

    But, I heard the AD interviewed on Mad Dog Radio yesterday (Rice is the one that looks like a mad dog) and I accepted his explanation. I don’t really think they swept it under the rug. And I get the impression that Rice has been on very, very thin ice there since the end of last year.

    • He shouldn’t have been allowed to be on thin ice. The AD and Pres have set the team up for failure because parents aren’t going to trust sending their kids to play at the school because they don’t want their kids to be abused by Rice. Even if they get rid of Rice now, parents are going to know they let the guy stick around for several months after this monstrosity and the parents are going to fear that the AD/Pres could bring in someone else who will tread their kids like garbage.

  16. Thoughts and prayers for your mom DK. I hope she has a successful surgery and a speedy recovery!

  17. JAL’s From the Beginning Morning Links

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW3fvC_eo8U

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2013

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Can the Pirates Get Impact Talent to the Upper Levels?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/first-pitch-can-the-pirates-get-impact-talent-to-the-upper-levels.html

    8 prospects, 8 questions: An initial look at the Altoona Curve’s top prospects

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/8-prospects-8-questions-an-initial-look-at-the-altoona-curves-top-prospects.html

    Which Prospects From Indianapolis Will Help the Pirates This Year?

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2013/04/which-prospects-from-indianapolis-will-help-the-pirates-this-year.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates minor league preview, part 2: Bradenton

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2013/4/2/4174338/pirates-minor-league-preview-part-ii-bradenton

    7 WHYGAVS

    Let the Gerrit Cole Watch begin

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/april-2013/game-1-cubs-3-pirates-1.html

    8 Pittsburgh Sporting News

    Jeff Locke thankful for making Opening Day roster

    http://www.pittsburghsportingnews.com/locke-feature/

    9 Rumbunter

    Did The San Francisco Giants Strike The Pittsburgh Pirates Again Or Are We Just Gun Shy?

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/02/did-the-san-francisco-giants-strike-the-pittsburgh-pirates-again-or-are-we-just-gun-shy/

    Why It Sucks To Watch The Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://rumbunter.com/2013/04/02/why-it-sucks-to-watch-the-pittsburgh-pirates/

    10 Green Weenie

    Win Today or Win Tomorrow?

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2013/04/win-today-or-win-tomorrow.html

    • Feeling Good My Brightest Diamond A project more than a band as Shara Worden records as My Brightest Diamond with string quartets, rock musicians, or whatever she comes up with. This is a 2009 song on a compilation album for a charity.

  18. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Neil Walker Not Likely To Negotiate During Season

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2013/04/02/pittsburgh-pirates-neil-walker-not-likely-to-negotiate-during-season/

    12 Bradenton Herald

    Bradenton Marauders | New group of major-league dreamers get their start

    http://www.bradenton.com/2013/04/03/4465258/bradenton-marauders-new-group.html

    13 Charleston Gazette

    Heralded prospect Bell back to restart climb up Pirates’ ladder

    http://www.wvgazette.com/Sports/201304020246

    14 Johnstown Tribune Democrat

    Expectations run high for Curve

    http://tribune-democrat.com/sports/x1319123211/Expectations-run-high-for-Curve

    15 Pioneer Press

    Minnesota Twins: Need consistent pitching? Hello, Kevin Correia

    http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_22923266/minnesota-twins-need-consistent-pitching-hello-kevin-correia

    16 Bleacher Report

    Post-Spring Training Scouting Report for Every Top Cubs Prospect

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1588306-post-spring-training-scouting-report-for-every-top-cubs-prospect

    17 CBS Sports

    Chicago-Pittsburgh Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20130403_CHC@PIT

    18 PBC Site

    Sanchez starting to turn it around with Bucs

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130402&content_id=43709874&vkey=news_pit&c_id=pit

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    10 Milestones to Look Forward to in 2013

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20040

    20 Fangraphs

    Framing the Way You Think About Framing

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/framing-the-way-you-think-about-framing/

  19. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Film Breakdown: Larry Foote is an asset in the passing game

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/2/4162860/Steelers-2012-season-analysis-defense-larry-foote-contract-GIF

    Steelers Bring in Jarvis Jones for Visit

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/4/2/4174312/steelers-bring-in-jarvis-jones-for-visit

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Penn State LB Michael Mauti To Visit Steelers This Week

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2013/04/penn-state-lb-michael-mauti-to-visit-steelers-this-week/

    Soccer(football)

    23 Daily Telegraph

    Pressure mounts on Sunderland and Paolo Di Canio with calls for clarification on fascist views

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/sunderland/9967713/Pressure-mounts-on-Sunderland-and-Paolo-Di-Canio-with-calls-for-clarification-on-fascist-views.html

    24 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 2nd April, 2013

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-2nd-april-2013

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 CBS Sports

    Penguins winning streak ends at 15 against Sabres

    http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/gametracker/recap/NHL_20130402_BUF@PIT/penguins-winning-streak-ends-at-15-against-sabres

  20. 1. Congratulations and best wishes to Steven Adams. Thank you for the year that you gave to PITT hoops. Enjoy your next season in the developmental league and hopefully the instruction will help polish your game so that in another year, you’ll be ready for prime time. (…no sarcasm meant here.) The sky is the limit here.
    .
    2. Shame on you Rushel Shell. All of the talent….lazy, easily influenced, poor decisions. Hope you get some better advice in the future…and that you become more disciplined and start to make decisions so that you can become a success in football and in life.
    .
    3. Hoka Hey Bob Nutting. If you are going to run and keep a business “forever” …you certainly owe it to yourself and to your family to entrust your business to better stewards. Your present GM has been “on scholarship” ever since Day 1 on the job. Shame on you. Time for a change……spend the $$$$ more wisely…..choose more carefully on your next selection. :-(
    .
    4. Prayers and all the best for you, DK !

  21. DK

    All the best to your mom.

  22. I pray that all goes well -DK
    My thoughts today are with you and your family.

  23. Wow. The piece about Nutting is sure to upset some of his minions.
    To add to this story, the story on the nutting springs mountain early winter goes as follows:

    The ever elusive BILL nutting was spotted. Some of the guys who are involved with Nutting springs and has been for over 30 years said to him. “hey Bill, tough end to the season”.

    Bill responded with “why do you say that”

    the guys said “well, it was a shame how the season ended down the stretch”

    Bill responded very matter of factly by saying “oh. we made our money by then. The rest was just gravy”

  24. Best of luck to you, Dejan…whatever happens to be going on.
    Man, I hope the offense can give at least a little bit tonight…hate that one pitch can basically ruin their chance of winning.

  25. Best wishes again for your mom Dejan. Pittsburgh has great heart surgeons, I’m sure she’ll be fine.

    Bob Nutting is too rational. I’d always said the Pirates finances needed to get in order. But they are now, time to have people running the franchise who know baseball, not pinching pennies.

  26. Prayers to your mom, you and the rest of your family, Dejan. When our moms/dads are not well (my mom is just recovering from surgery and a few other ailments)…sports is a nice out, but not nearly as important. Again, thoughts are with you.

  27. Read the article on Nutting. Nothing earth shattering. Competitively speaking, baseball is economically unfair to the little guy, and Nutting is a businessman first and foremost. This is the reality of the situation and exactly why the Pirates cannot compete on the field. Nutting has tried exploiting advantages, e.g. Over slot Draft spending (that loophole is now closed), rookie player control; but in the end, these fringe tactics get you only so far. A $70M payroll won’t beat a $250M payroll too often no matter who Nutting hires. You are free to hate the owner but recognize the rules under which he is playing. Pinning your hopes on finding an eccentric billionaire who wants to spend all his money recklessly to field a winner is like pinning your retirement on winning the lottery. Good luck!

  28. All best wishes to DK’s mom, her family and DK today at 10 and in the days ahead in a speedy recovery.

  29. Forgive me, but using profits to pay down personal debt in order to be financially solvent all while seeing your franchise value increase five times over is not what I consider “putting it back into the franchise”. At least in the altruistic manner in which its spoken in the article. What a bunch of balogna.

    This Lustig guy is a real peice of work, too.

    “The sole goal was twofold: to keep the Pirates in Pittsburgh and to build a new facility. Well, we kept the Pirates here, and PNC Park is the most beautiful facility in all of baseball,” Lustig said.

    No Jay, YOU did do anything. I’ll take the thank you as a taxpaying citizen of Allegheny County some other time.

    • I read the article and see nothing about profit to pay personal debt. Lustig said “Whatever we made in profit went back into the franchise,” he said. “The problem is, as a small-market franchise, the Yankees have $200 million more in television revenues over what we do. The Dodgers are fielding a team with a $250 million payroll, while ours is ($79.5 million).

      • They’ve admitted to using profit to pay down debt before. Just because it isn’t in the article doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

        Look, I’m not one of these guys that think Nutting is the devil and should be harassed until he heads back to the hills of WV. But I also don’t appreciate being deceived.

        • Where–I find that very unlikely. Both MLB and the Players Union would come down hard on that. All money from the team has to go back into the team. They can pay down team debt but not personal debt.

          • I think we may be mixing up some things. Like “personal debt” and what has to go into the team. The revenue sharing has to go into the team. And the “personal debt” may really be Pirate debt, and they clearly have been paying down some Pirate debt, and if not from profits then from where?

            • Some of the “team debt” is debt to the Nutting’s for the personal loans, which may cause some of the confusion,

            • I just know that MLB and the Players Union monitor money very closely and if any owner used baseball money for anything personal the Union would file a complaint immediately.

              • As I said, there may be some confusion created by the “team debt” being debt to the Nuttings. Technically, that’s not personal debt because the Nuttings are the creditors, but it does help the Nuttings personally.

              • Boras has been banging this drum for years.

                Sure, the exact revenue sharing dollars may not be the same ones that go toward debt reduction, but they do supplant the baseball revenue that goes towards it.

                My only wish is for ownership to use the ever increasing franchise value to recoup debts incurred at purchase when they sell. Nutting has found a way to have his cake and eat it too.

              • Through 2009 the only debt that the Pirates had was $61 million due to banks and a revolving credit facility with MLB of $59 million. There was also deferred compensation of $26 million.

                The $20 million that was loaned by Nutting to the team in 2003 was converted into equity in 2008.

          • Do I have this right?

            Nutting loaned the money to the club, basically himself, and has been using the profits after meeting his OBLIGATIONS to pay down his long term debt faster than what he and whatever other creditors there are require.

            I think that the short term effect of such a plan would be to make a little less cash available until the debt was satisfied and then more available — including the interest savings, which are generally substantial for paying off a loan faster — in the future.

            In other words the long-term benefit would outweigh the short-term liability and the make more money available for operations providing he continues leaving his profits (retained earnings) in the club.

            What am I missing?

            • Your first paragraph is completely incorrect.

            • Sorry JH, I didn’t have time earlier.

              In 2003, the PBC raised an additional $20 million from existing owners. In 2008, that preferred stock issuance was converted into common stock.

              Debt was not paid down in excess of what was required. Because their credit market dried up in 2003 (according to the AP), this was a great deal for ownership including the minority partners as it prevented a bankruptcy, IMO.

              • Thanks.

                I did read somewhere that I can’t remember years ago that the Pirates were trying to pay down long term debt ahead of schedule. What was that all about?

                There’s so much conjecture and misinformation and unknowns about financial/accounting stuff in general and the Pirates in particular that it’s difficult to have an informed opinion about any of it.

                Of course it doesn’t stop the other kind of opinions from forming. I’m probably guilty too.

        • How exactly were you deceived?

        • To pay down the FRANCHISE’S debt, not personal debt. Failure to pay down the franchise debt is a quick way to bankruptcy.

    • I think I’m just annoyed that we’re two days into the actual baseball season and we’re STILL talking about MORE ownership/management hooey. AGAIN.

      I’d like to talk about baseball. Silly idea, I know.

      Trib really knows how to get those views.

      • You take the stories when they come,

      • We agree on the paying down debt part being considered “putting money back into the team” to be grade a bologna.

        As far as being “annoyed that we’re two days into the actual baseball season and we’re STILL talking about MORE ownership/management hooey. AGAIN”, this is going to be the case until something changes with their business model.
        Players, coaches, and even GM’s have come and gone…. and the results continue to be putrid. Ownership is the main problem. Supporting them or giving them a pass is irresponsible and allows the farce to continue

        • Supporting them or giving them a pass is irresponsible and allows the farce to continue?

          Whats your solution BFD?

          • SOLUTION?
            Stay away. Send Nutting a clear message to get out. Don’t support nutting springs, don’t attend games at the taxpayer funded park or anything else his greedy hands are in.

            The media could quit giving him free infomericals about the food and “great times at the ‘ol ballbark’” and report the facts. The fact is the product stinks.

            and Yes, I am well aware that we do not know who might end up owning this team, but it simply could not be worse.

        • C’mon BFD, I’ve asked you many times before. How about a list of all of the billionaires out there who can’t wait to flush their fortunes down the commode to provide you with better entertainment? You must have five or six in mind. Let’s hear who they are.

          • Investing in trying to win is not flushing money down the toilet.
            If that is a problem, one should remove themselves from owning a team.

            • Spending more than you make is how you become bankupt. You are an advocate for an owner who will spend himself into bankruptcy in pursuit of a championship. Where is this noble billionaire?

          • flush money down the toilet? how? by spending a reasonable sum of money on payroll? I have never said they should be spending like the NY’s of the league, but I am guessing here but I would bet they are DEAD last in total payroll over the past 5 years….. probably the past 10 too.

            They put out a putrid product and make not bones about maintaining the status quo……..

            • You consider “a reasonable sum of money” to be more than the club takes in in revenue. Where is the billionaire white knight who will happily lose millions for your entertainment?

      • I’m more annoyed that the realistic of us can’t logically believe this team will ever be good enough to win much of anything because the white elephant in the room named Nutting will always block our view of greater things.

        Sorry, but no matter how hard I try to focus on the game, the enormity of that thing gets in the way.

        I wish I was talented enough to draw that in a cartoon illustration of PNC Park during a Pirates game, with Cutch standing at the plate looking confused because of a huge white elephant named Nutting – with Huntington and Coonelly riding it – taking up most of the field. That would sum things up nicely for me.

    • That’s not really fair to say he didn’t do anything. If he hadn’t stepped up in the beginning with McClatchy, may be we taxpayers don’t get the chance to fund PNC Park. This was not the Public-Private partnership that bought the Pirates from the Galbreaths.

      • I don’t know Jay Lustig, but I know his reputation as being pretty civic minded, even apart from the Pirates.

      • Ugh.

        I absolutely hate how this we’ll-pick-up-and-leave fear tactic has spread across sports without ever being challenged.

        But this is more of a political discussion than a sports one. We’ll leave it at that.

        • Without that tactic, we wouldn’t have any professional Pittsburgh sports to talk about, although the Steelers who also used it might still be in Washington County,

        • Actually, they tried it in Brooklyn in 1957. We all know how that turned out.

          • How many more San Francisco’s are out there, Milo?

            Go ahead, enjoy Portland/Las Vegas/Charlotte.

            Good luck being any more solvent there.

            • That’s two more than any owner needs.

            • Pens would be in Kansas City and the Pirates would not be here.

              Just the facts, ma’am.

              • That’s just not true. It’s possible, but far from fact.

                The city blinked first, and that’s all anybody can say for sure.

              • Keep dreaming, NMR. Some things are just true. You think the Penguins would still be here playing in Mellon Arena and the Pirates and Steelers in Three Rivers?

            • If memory serves, MLB’s approval of the sale of the Pirates to the McClatchy group was conditioned, either explicitly or implicitly, on there being a new baseball only stadium built. (Sophie is still smiling)

              • Yes.

                “On Oct. 25, 1995, just when the deal with McClatchy seemed to be solidifying, National League President Len Coleman announced that the city’s lack of commitment for a new ballpark could kill the sale.

                “In order to encourage Major League Baseball to approve the sale to the McClatchy group, strong statements about a new park were absolutely essential,” Newlin said.

                “Over the long haul, the idea surfaced that a new ballpark might be important,” he added. “Then it moved from the level of maybe being important to being a requirement of the deal. We had to require it in order to save the Pirates.”

            • Speaking of San Francisco, they “stood up” to the 49ers. Hello Santa Clara.

        • Exactly.

          And lets not get all upset if they leave allegehny county either. Lots of teams have stadiums outside of the limits of the city that preceeds their name.

          The “Dallas” Cowboys play in Arlington, which is 20 miles outside of Dallas. How long have the “New York” Jets played in New Jersey? Its not even the same state. So if building Heinz Field had saved 50 mil by being built in Greensburg, or Washington or Even Butler….whats the problem? Isnt that just good “business’?

        • St Louis Browns
          Philadelphia A’s
          Brooklyn Dodgers
          New York Giants
          Boston Braves
          Washington Senators
          Milwaukee Braves
          Washington Senators expansion team
          Kansas City A’s
          Seattle Pilots
          Montreal Expos

          On the one hand, yes they do move teams. On the other, all those cities (if you count Brooklyn as part of New York) still have major league baseball.

        • Montreal challenged it. Where is their baseball team? Los Angeles challenged it. Where are their NFL teams?

          • You’re right about Montreal — and of course the LA example is from football, where we have the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams, but no Chicago Cardinals or L.A. Rams or Cleveland Rams for that matter. Still football is a lot more stable than baseball — mostly because they only have to fill the stadium once every two weeks: which is a good thing if you’re the Green Bay Packers.

            Basketball and Hockey teams tend more to come and go. The Waterloo Hawks were original members of the NBA. The Lakers did not get their name from their two letters.

    • You’re just dead wrong here NMR. Debt has not been paid down over and above what is required by the banks. Furthermore, the 2009 financials show debt increasing by $20 million (bank debt) from 2008 levels. No financial information after 2009 has been made public.

    • Feel free to show any evidence you might have that Nutting used the Pirates money to pay down personal debt.

  30. Sincere prayers for your mom and the doctors helping her today. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery.

  31. DK,

    Best wishes to you, your mother, and your family.

    Sorry about the jab.

  32. The Nutting story is what I and most of us have believed all along. There will never be another championship Pirates team in Pittsburgh with Nutting as owner. He’s the worst owner a club like the Pirates could have because he runs the Pirates like a business and not like a baseball club, two VERY different things.

    • see I read that differently. I completely understand what Nutting is doing, even if I wish he had more George Steinbrenner in him. The Plan™ was a good plan. The problem is the execution went awry when you traded an MVP type player for a bunch of prospects who had already missed. The fault was hiring a GM with no experience, a guy who been demoted at Cleveland prior to coming here.

      By all accounts NH wants to win, and he has only screwed up one first round draft since getting here. But we have yet to see great success from him, and I think he is running out of time.

      Wanna see what a rich owner can do, look at the once great now pathetic Cowboys. making $$$’s sure, but a meddlesome owner does not guarantee wins

  33. Fire Bylsma!

    (Was that the first of the day? I don’t really want to fire him at the moment. Just wanted to be #1 on that.)

    My buddy was at the opener the other day and was a couple seats from Disco. He bought him a Miller Lite and Disco didn’t take it. I don’t remember the last time I turned down free beer that wasn’t Beast or Natty.

    In all seriousness though, Tyler Kennedy is crap.

  34. I’m confused; I thought the Pens were “all in” this year. 14mil left on a prorated salary cap and assets to deal and you have a major weakness up the middle right now and your going to say your done dealing? I’m not saying they need to go get Mike Ribiero but there is absolutely no reason TK should be playing center on the first line or the 4th line. He’s not made for a 1st line and he’s not built for a 4th line.

    To me thats something that should be addressed today. I understand Sid is going to come back and thats great; wonderful. But do you really want to go into the playoffs with TK as your 4th line center or Jeffrey who is playing the best hockey of his life but can’t sniff the net. Team needs another guy they can count on to win a face off in their own end when its needed.

    • I was thinking that too. They’re not strapped, what could a little more depth hurt? But real depth. Not Peanut Kennedy 1-D can’t keep my tongue in my mouth when I shoot, skate or sit on the bench type of depth.

    • They have a guy who can win a face off in their own end when it is needed, but they continue to scratch him. Vitale has the best face off percentage on the team. No reason he shouldn’t be the 4th line center every game. I’m even ok with Jeffrey manning the first line center position. Sure he can’t score, but at least he has some playmaking ability to be able to set up Kunitz/Dupuis, which Kennedy proved he can’t do at all last night. Kennedy needs to see the bench unless a winger gets injured.

      • Vitale is fine for the 4th line; I don’t care to see Jeffrey or Kennedy on the top line. And unfortunately for Vitale he can’t kill penalties which is another thing hurting his chances of playing.

        • I agree, but that is why Kennedy gets benched and you leave Adams and Glass on the fourth line as penalty killers. Vitale is in their to provide even strength checking, speed, and face off wins. He does all three of those things well.

          I don’t love seeing Jeffrey on the top line, but as long as Sid is back prior to the trade deadline, I’m OK with it.

      • Agreed, although I think Jeffery will probably get the top line spot and Vitale will spell him in more critical face off situations.

    • Its just ONE game. One game after they lost their captain and best player. ONE loss following 15 straight wins.

      Lets let DB have more than 60 minutes to figure out how to use all the old and new players he has before we starting throwing more players into the mix? For gods sake they have a 14 point lead in the division with 12 games left. I think its safe to say they are going to get one of the top 3 seeds.

      • I agree on the general principle of giving Disco a couple games to figure stuff out. I have no issue with some shuffling in light of recent injuries and acquisitions. But his insistence on playing guys like Glass and Kennedy, and Kennedy on a top line for that matter, is about the same as Hurdle’s playing Rod Barajas all the time. At some point he needs to concede that an egg is an egg.

        • Yes. I get exactly where you are coming from. Really I do.

          But the biggest difference between the two examples is that DB is winning a lot, CH wasn’t. Until TK and Glass start costing the Pens games, I’m more inclined to trust the judgement of DB.

          And last night was a poor effort by everyone, not just TK. Vokoun and Niskanen had far wose games than TK or Glass.

          To be honest i think Glass has been playing much better the last 4-5 games. Nothing to show for it, but he has been better. Its a start.

          • I’ll go with that. Hard to argue that DD isn’t winning and CH was. Didn’t watch the game much last night (was 4-1 when I got the tv back from my wife). I just hope they don’t have a streak hangover and start losing. I don’t think they will… Not real sure how most teams react after a long winning streak.

  35. Lol Thanks Arriba. I heard that on the radio and I think people walking down the street heard me yell “What the (#(&)*@!”

  36. DK – Best wishes for your mother and family. I will say a special prayer for you today.

  37. Lots on the sports docket today. But sports can wait…Moms – another story altogether. My thoughts and prayers are with you this morning, Dejan. Godspeed…

  38. DK, first and foremost, thoughts and prayers go out to you, your mother, and the rest of your family. I know your job is important to you, but family should always come first.

    Next, the TK at center experiment was an utter failure. TK still had the same winger shoot first mentality, which doesn’t work at the center where you need to be a playmaker first and a shooter second. I am beginning to feel that there is no place on this team for him to play right now, other than a back-up winger if someone were to get hurt.

    The Pens looked pretty rough all around yesterday. I’m wondering if they realized that you can’t come back from 3 goals down when you are on the PK more than you are at even strength. The lack of discipline is reminiscent of how they were playing before the streak when they were losing games. That needs to go away immediately.

    Sad to see Vokoun have a rough game. Hopefully everyone can forget this game and remember that he just set the team record for most time between goals allowed.

    Good to see Fleury get in and play well. Seems as though his shot to the head hasn’t hurt his game, which is good. In past years, I could see him coming back from that hit and playing very timid. I didn’t see that yesterday.

    The Iginla – Malkin – Neal line looked good out there (minus Neal’s stupid retaliatory penalty). Those three are going to be very tough to play against.

    Alright, that’s it for my Pens column (sorry about that. I started typing and it just kept coming).

  39. Thoughts and prayers and best wishes DK and your family!

    Pirates:
    Where are the Pirates today versus 3 to 5 years ago? I would say big improvement! Including the big league club and minor league clubs/prospects. Big improvement!
    If Nutting is making a profit and putting it back into the team, how is that a problem?
    If it’s paying down past debt to put the team in a better position to spend more in the future then what is the problem with that?
    Mistakes? Oh yea, they have made several. But so has every other organization.
    The Pirates are getting closer and by next year they should be competing for the division.
    Could they have turned it around faster? Yes of course (Howard Baldwin). But only if they went out and spent it on short term solutions that would have most likely taken some/all of our top prospects. Maybe even put them into a financial mess.

    Go Bucs!

    • No one ever wants to mention Howard Baldwin when bringing up the Pens…now there was one heck of a scam artist…. and he did it all for the good of the team… and his lust for winning a Cup…with everyone else’s money, because he had so little of his own invested in the franchise.

    • “Could they have turned it around faster? Yes of course (Howard Baldwin). But only if they went out and spent it on short term solutions that would have most likely taken some/all of our top prospects. Maybe even put them into a financial mess.”

      Only if . . . ??? Wow, you have a lot more prescient ability than me. So, no one could have done a better job with the funds available than the present management team? Wow!

      Sorry, that just strikes me as balderdash.

  40. I disagree with a couple of items that Lustig brought up.

    I got the impression that Lustig wants us to go into the red just to pick up a guy or two. As sad as it is, we’re more than just a few solid starting free agents from being competitive. What’s the point of going into the red just so we’ll stink just slightly less? When we do go into the red, that’s where we get into loads of trouble. Remember the Ramirez deal from a decade ago? I really don’t want to repeat that ever again.

    Secondly, he says he wanted to sell the franchise to a billionaire who will apparently pump millions of his own money in order to make the team competitive. I would love nothing more for that to happen but what individual is going to do such a thing? Is there such an owner in MLB that already exists? That seems to be unreasonable to expect an owner to make such a move.

    • Anyone that thinks that an owner should go into the red should look back at the Howard Baldwin days of owning the Penguins.

    • “Is there such an owner in MLB that already exists?”

      Mike Illitch in Detroit is the poster child for this. Old dude with more money than he knows what to do with. Just happens to like baseball. A lot.

      It’s impossible for either of us to know Lustig’s tone, but I don’t see why someone with a financial interest in the club would be advocating for the type of crippling debt that forced the Ramirez trade.

      Seems like he’s more likely to be advocating the kind of year-end debt that the Brewers were said to be under during their run of “all in” payroll increases. I find it hard to believe Nutting would ever buy off on that kind of thing.

    • I think the owner of the Tigers fits your description.
      The owners of the Nationals may also fit that description. Artie Moreno with the Angels.
      The group that bought the Dodgers. Maybe even the guy who owns the Brewers and the Reds. What about the Steinbrenners.

      I think there are plenty of extremely rich people that own teams..and lose money. I think they try to control the losses, or are real good at ‘hiding’ the profits. And I don begrudge them from making a profit.

      I did get a chuckle the other day when I read part of an article which said Bud Selig was fine with the debt structure of the Cubs.

      • I think there are extremely rich people that own teams and pump millions into the team with top notch FA’s to generate fan interest with the hopes of eventually having their own TV network or a larger TV contract. Problem is that the Pirates don’t have an owner that would be able to take that kind of financial loss year after year until he was able to do one or the other.

      • I not saying you two are wrong but what is giving you the impression that these owners are spend their own money on the team? How do you know they’re not simply going into the red?

        • Very possible that a few of these owners are going into the red; however I also believe that the net worth of some of these owners gives them the luxury of being able to go into the red for a few seasons.

          Looking at the Angels for example in 2012 they had 239 million in revenue. But according to the books they ran a debt of 12.9 mil on operating income. Their payroll was 166mil.

          Pirates according to Forbes had 178mil in revenue; 69mil in player expenses, and had a positive of 26.8 mil in operating income.

          • I think there is more to it than that. Forbes doesn’t have the balance sheet of the teams. The lack of debt by the Angeles could be the money saved up from previous years.

      • Moreno and the Dodgers group are making money faster than the mint can print it. The Brewers accepted losses for a couple of years when they thought they had loaded up enough talent to make a run on a championship. They were wrong, and they’ll be paying for that misjudgment for the next five years or so. I don’t know anything at all about the Reds finances, so I’ll reserve comment there.

    • I wouldnt think that those guys waste money just to do so. they didnt get rich by making decisions like that. Even the Yankees make money. Just not as much as people think they do. Some teams aim to break even, and some owners probably would go into the black ( Detroit, Washington) when they think the time is right. They wouldnt do it all the time though. No Business entity can act that way, MLB probably WOULDN”T LET THEM act so foolishly either.

      The Marlins did pretty well acting that way. Save, save, save for a few years and then blow it all on a two year window. Blow it all up, Wash, rinse, repeat.

      • “they didnt get rich by making decisions like that.”

        Exactly. But isn’t there also the possibility that they didn’t buy an MLB franchise with the sole purpose of making money?

        These guys are BILLIONAIRES. More money than I’ll ever be able to fathom. With the kind of revenue streaming into MLB, it would take a series of extremely bad baseball decisions to even put a dent in that.

        “The Marlins did pretty well acting that way. Save, save, save for a few years and then blow it all on a two year window.”

        Speaking for myself, I’m not confident that any savings in the ’08-’10 years will ever see the playing field in Pittsburgh.

        • It certainly is a possibility, but thats a very rare type of person. I know there are Billionaire men around the world that have very expensive hobbies. My wife met a guy while she was in the navy that spent 8 figures a year on a sailing boat/team that competes in a tournament off the coast of new zealand once a year. he never got anything iun return except a shiny trophy.

          So you could hope someone like that comes along and decides the world series is his white whale. But it sounds to me like the Nuttings wouldnt sell unless he overpaid for the PBC in the first place. At that point he might just be patient and wait for somone more reasonable to want to sell the Mariners or the White Sox and get market value.

          And a series of really bad decisions did occur that lead the Pirates into the situation that allowed Nutting to buy the team in the first place. The same series of bad baseball (financial) decisions that lead to the Ramirez trade (dump) lead to the point where Nutting got majority ownership too.

          And no, those savings will never see the light of day. In their minds those weren’t savings, just profits. Not Pirates profits, either. Those were Nuttings profits. Those get “reinvested” in the Nuttings, not the PBC. (IMO)

    • And I got the distinct impression he was referring to Mark Cuban…but thats just me.

    • An owner wealthy enough who wants a team as not a primary, or even secondary source of income would probably be happy breaking even every year, or losing a few million to own a championship team. I know some people can’t relate to, or understand that concept, but it does and has happened. I’m sure if Mario and Burkle owned the team, they wouldn’t treat is as a cash cow and would come as close to the red line as possible (or even go below it) to at least make the team more competitive and help turn around a losing culture. Mario from a sports and competitive perspective, and Burkle from a not profit interest.

      Two problems with Nutting:

      A. He isn’t wealthy enough to NOT treat his ownership of the Pirates as anything other than a money making investment and if he is, then that’s a whole other problem within itself, which leads to the next thing, which is…

      B. He’s not really in it for winning. IMO, he will ever understand the desire at that level, or place it above business sense and a tidy profit. That doesn’t make him a bad owner, just one not right for a team like the Pirates, who in a small market, in the midst of a a historical losing streak, needs more.

      Sorry, but this team needs stupid money thrown at it to get over that hump. The plan isn’t working and won’t at this pace. Don’t care if it’s fiscally responsible or not. This is baseball, and even worse, it’s the Pirates. People need to save that sound, penny pinching logic for their national economy and personal budgets.

      • “….but this team needs stupid money thrown at it to get over that hump.”

        Not reallly. The Reds and Mariners have enjoyed sucess in similar financial markets with similar economies. The A’s and Rays have been far more successful with far less money.

        More money would be nice. Spending what they have more intelligently would be better. That means Bonutt *actually needs the BMTIB, not the current and ironically moniker-ed one.

  41. For all complaining about paying down debt….

    Does anyone recall July 2003? When the PBC were up against the MLB debt threshold and were forced to dump salaries to make payroll? Where were all of these cries of then? This team would have been in some real trouble or going to bankruptcy on Aug. 1, 2003. So maybe the owner has a bit of an issue with handling so much debt from the past. Give it a rest.

    • Using the extreme end of the spectrum to illustrate your point isn’t helping at all. We’re talking about apples and oranges.

      • I’m not sure NMR… the team was drowning in debt (I think the threshold for borrowing was 68% of team value) and at the limit of its ability to borrow money. The team had to deal with significant amounts of debt then, and for a few years to follow.

        • Obviously. Which has what to do with this situation?

          You’re using an example of extreme mismanagement. There is a whooooole lot of room in between that milking the club for every penny to use on your ski resort.

          That middle ground is where this conversation should be taking place. Not at the extremes.

  42. ESPN reporting that the Stars are shopping Goligoski for a good return. Find that rather interesting

    • With the Martin and Letang situation, I’d rather if anyone, they bring back Gonchar as a rental. PP looks pathetic at the point right now. Too bad Ottawa won’t give him up now and they’ll want too much for Goligoski.

  43. Wonder what the reactions to the Pens issues would have been if these blogs existed in their current popularity 15 or even 10 years ago. Not to mention the problems the PBC had at those times with the on-field product and the horrible mismanagement of the organization.

  44. DK-

    Best wishes for you and your family. Hope all goes well.

    The worst part of the destruction of the PBC isn’t the “small market” status…it’s the lack of ability to evaluate and develope what talent they do have. Even Cutch has holes in his game…base running and defense primarily. Yes, I know he won the GG. He got because there wasn’t anyone really better and SOMEBODY had to win it, not because he made anybody forget Billy Virdon and Andy Van Slyke.

    I would rather see the Pens lose like last nite than play well and lose. The second line had a ton of chances and you get the feeling they can score at will once they get going.
    To do THAT…Geno needs to find his game. He is simply not playing to his standard….yet.

    As a Pitt alumni…jees. What next? But sorry, Pederson had zero to do with anything that happened yesterday.

    • I think looking at where the Pirates have come from with regards to where their current minor league system is ranked today versus 3 to 5 years ago should tell us that they are doing better about evaluating talent.
      Yes, they have been terrible for so long and when that happens you get better picks. Fortunately, they have been in a better financial position to take the best player regardless of the salary demands of the player and agent.

  45. As of today, 37 games in to the season, 11 to go…

    Goober Slinger Kennedy has 5G, 4A for 9P, -2. 36 GP. $2million salary.

    Dupweee: 17G, 9A, 26P, +21. $1.5million.

    Bennett: 2G, 7A, 9P in 19GP. $.9million

    Letang, Martin and Niskanen (ALL D) have more points than Goober Slinger. All have better +-. All have played less games.

    BROOKS ORPIK has one less point than the Goob. Mark Eaton is only 5P behind.

    Only Dupweee, Crosby and Neil have more shots than the Goob, all over 10% compared to his 80 shots and electrifying 6.3 S%.

    And Tanner Glass has 0P in 37 GP, -7. $1.1million.

    What the deuce.

    • There is more to hockey than points. I know you know this.

      Im not a fan of TK..or Glass. Hell yesterday i made the case of replacing Glass on the wing with Deryk Engelland.

      But you cant expect EVERY [player on a roster to have a great+/!. or every one of the top 12 to play as well as Dupweee. If the Pens only have two problem children then they have 4-5 less than everyone else.

      But really the question really is: who do you replace Glass and TK with? Bennett and Menga?

      • I don’t subscribe much to +- honestly. Just another point in my disdain for the Goob.

        He has simply lost it since his 20 goal season and I didn’t like that Shero signed him in the first place. He’s never been a 2way player, which most of the pens roster is more than adequate in that department. If he’s not playing D and he’s not scoring SOMETHING, i just don’t see the justification for him playing. I don’t expect him to be great. I just don’t see his “contributions” in a positive light.

        I actually would love to see DE on a wing to replace Glass. His skating’s not great, but I like that he’ll shoot, make some decent passes, is tough, and would be a good netfront guy.

        Kennedy should be replaced by Bennett if nothing else. BB has been more solid physically, defensively, has better vision and WAY more upside than the Goob. Goober Slinger has become the hockey playing version of Matt Diaz IMO.

  46. What Ramirez deal are you referring to? The best example of what you are saying is the Kendall deal, and that was a bad management/financial decision which doesn’t really support the point, either.

  47. Mike Rice has been fired. Maybe now Rutgers can turn their attention to their egotistical gasbag AD Tim Pernetti.

    • He got his just desserts. I wonder if another school will pick him up.

    • He was pretty full of himself when the Big 10 deal was announced. I think its the only thing that will save him.

    • Milo,
      I heard the AD yesterday on the radio – before I saw the Outside the Lines video.

      I didn’t get the same impression of him as you have. I thought he was pretty level headed, well spoken, and answered every question (with details). So it made me wonder if this was being overblown by the media.

      But then I saw the video.

      • Snake. Oil. Salesman. He actually has the Big Ten believing that people in the New York metropolitan area care about Rutgers athletics. Good job by him I suppose.

    • He should be arrested. Then b****-slapped for using that kind of language and tactics with young, impressionable men.

      Seriously, he needs some mental counselling or valium or spiritual counselling or something.

      I recommend Drew.

    • Rice would make a great addition to the swamps of Northern Jersey.
      Just sayin’.

  48. Best of luck today, DK. Prayers for you and your family.

  49. Here’s a True Story: Seven Springs and the Nuttings

    Nutting’s Son was getting on the busy chair lift one day and the employee
    at the lift made the mistake of greeting him by his surname.

    The crowd jeered…
    Employees at the resort are NO longer permitted
    to greet the Nuttings by their last name.

    Ya know, dontcha?, that the Nutting’s run the place and are
    doing for Seven Springs, what they’ve done for the Pirates.

    If you know the resort, the people who live, and the fine folks who work there,
    you’ll find a not-so-thinly veiled disgust for the family.

    Unfortunate, but true.

    • My brother-in-law works there and he loves it. He even goes as far as to say, “The guy may not know how to run a baseball team, but he treats us pretty darn good.”

    • I have never ski’ed there, but I have heard the place has gone south since Mr. Nutting took over.
      He disbanded the Police force, which led to a rash of burglaries and vandalism.
      Just sayin’.

  50. Great article on Nutting/Pirates ownership…. seem to me the crux of the argument is what is the responsibility of team ownership…to rationally run a business or to personally sacrifice profits for winning? The easiest/laziest thing to do is to take shots at the owner… I think the article really says it all… Nutting is a good businessman, has done a lot to clean things up for the Pirates, and there can be no doubt that baseball is here to stay in Pittsburgh and that wasn’t a certaintly a decade or so ago. But maybe it takes ownership with bigger ego to go ‘in the red’ to win a championship… I think the Brewers are a good case to study…they “went for it” a few years ago and made the playoffs but lost money I think in the season thay did that…. now they are scaling back (or at least were until they overpaid for Kyle Lohse a few weeks ago)…. shouldn’t the Milwaukee owner keep operating in the red until they win a title? Or is he allowed to be rational?

    I’m right down the middle on Nutting… I think he can and should be more aggressive right now but have no real complaints on how he ran things the past several years.

  51. Anyone talk baseball anymore around here that is devoid of $$$ and ownership?

    Ryan Ludwick is out for a good bit…that’s fun for everyone.

    Cubs in trouble later – count on it.

    I heart Bob Nutting – oops contradicted myself again by bringing up BOB…who cares though. He leaves just enough buttons open on his shirt to make me forget about what he is actually saying. Pay the bills shooter, see you at the ballpark.

    • THANK YOU. It’s about time.

      -How ’bout the Brewers “proven closer” blowing his first save attempt of the year? Gonna be decision time for them sooner or later.

      -Anyone confused by Hurdle’s Gaby/Tabby/Travis treatment?

      -If only Yu Darvish could butterfly.

      • Suppose for a moment, and it’s not a stretch, that Travis Snider’s exit interview went something like this:

        “Travis we really like you, and it’s too bad we really didn’t get to see what you can do because of the nagging injuries you had. We think it would be in everyone’s best interest if you really worked hard this off season to get into great, not good, but great shape. We’ll help you change your diet & find someone to work with you in the weight room to met these goals. You have a great opportunity here Travis but you’re going to have to work for it, nothing’s going to be given to you. And trust us, we’ll know the minute you walk through the door next February.”

        Is it possible they think he lacks dedication ? I sure do.

        • Did we release Snider?

          • No Dom. He’s still there. Just searching for a reason he might not have played Monday. Other than complete lack of production, of course.

            • I’m not sure a search is needed. Hurdle was very blunt in stating why Gaby was playing over him, and that was because of spring training numbers. Crazy, IMO, but thats what he said.

            • And I think many people forget about the Travis Snider who hit .289/.368/.410 over 95 AB for us before his injury.

              Maybe it was because the season ended poorly, both individually and as a team, but it happened. It’s there.

              • I haven’t forgotten. I think about that home run often.

              • Oh yes, that one majestic blast.

                Does it bother you that defense apparently isn’t even a factor for Hurdle? I know neither Tabby nor Snider are a whiz with the glove, but think about that ball Castillo got past Jones for the 3rd run.

                Certainly not routine, but you couldn’t have played it much worse.

                Seems like a Jones/Sanchez platoon with someone who actually belongs in RF still makes the team better overall, even if Sanchez is a better hitter than Tabby/Travis.

              • From the angle I had, I couldn’t believe it wasn’t caught. That said, Jones hurts you more at 1st base than he does in right field.

        • That’s tough.

          I think that Travis Snider thinks he’s in good baseball shape. He seems to be extremely cerebral when it comes to his diet. He’s studied it and believes that protein is the way to go. He also claims to be under 10% body fat and is only 5 lbs heavier than when he was drafted. I’ve never seen the guy topless, so I don’t know whats really going on under there.

          I don’t know if I can go as far as using that to judge his dedication to the game, but I do think that it could be contributing to his history of injuries.

          • He comes off as a very bright kid. But if you go back to that 3 part series that JAL linked to last year (pretty sure you read that), it’s always something with him.

            I’m good with protein too, by the way.

            • I’m on board with that. I think some of his complaints were justified, but they were complaints nonetheless.

              • Snider is going to get some starts…my guess is Hurdle is going with what’s hot this year and that starting lineup monday demonstrates that fact…remember, Hurdle is the only one with an extension. This creates distinction between field and front office which is just cerebral enough to believe that Bob Nutting is no dummy.

                I feel like Hurdles decisions are his own this year more than any other.

              • Actually, Hurdle’s extension just made his contract run with Neal’s. No one knows what FC’s deal is. I, personally, think he was fired 2
                years ago, but he hasn’t been told yet.

  52. I know this will only happen years if not decades from now, but do we have any idea who would inherit the Buccos after Bob moves on? Are his children interested in taking over the team? I’m not even sure if has kids but something is telling me that he has a couple daughters.

    • Look how well Jr. is doing with the Yankees since George passed. People forget what a lousy owner George was for 15 years before he figured out how to run a franchise. I can imagine just when Bonutt manages to figure out how to make $ AND win his kids will take over and pay A-Rod JR. $103 mil a year to suck out loud.

  53. My prayers for you, your Mom, and your entire family today, Dejan.

  54. DK — Hope all goes well today.

  55. Tyler Kennedy playing center in place of Sidney Crosby= FUBAR. There is simply no way to justify that decision.

    • It’s easy to justify:

      They had won 15 straight games. And since DB knows those players better than the collective understanding of everyone else on the planet I think he should get the benefit of the doubt to change his roster when injuries occur.

      Now if 3 games from now it still looks like it did last night and DB still sends TK out with Duper and Kunitz…well…that’s a different story. For now its just one game, and DB has earned the right to be wrong with a 14 point lead.

  56. Actually I was watching basketball last night, but ESPN kept interrupting to tell us about the no hitter in progress in Texas — and I kept thinking I wished they would have moved Milwaukee back to AL where they belong and left us the Astros to beat up on. The no-no didn’t happen, history was averted in the 9th inning with a couple squib hits — still a blowout though. Isn’t Milwaukee closer to Seattle than Houston?

    The game I was watching was Iowa by 12 over Maryland in the NIT semifinals. I wound up watching the last five minutes with the sound off because the announcers were so bad. Between (unintentional, I hope) east coast bias — you would have thought Maryland was winning if it wasn’t for the scoreboard — and rambling on about anything but the game to the point that I was screaming “what happened?’ at the TV set: more than once. And when they did talk about the game, every made shot was an example of basketball savvy and laudable personal effort and every missed shot was due to mental error of the most unforgivable nature. Whatever happened to announcers who tell you what’s going on on the floor (or field)?

    And don’t get me going on the officiating . . .

    More baseball — I wasn’t around the blog yesterday, but I did see the AJ’s “one bad pitch” story. I kept thinking, oh my here we go again. I know it’s way early in the season, but it has been so long since we’ve had an offense that I almost forgot what one looks like. We’re so close — if Alvarez, Marte, and the rf du jour deliver we could get by, and if Barmes OR Martin would “rediscover their old stroke” we could be ferocious. I only put one if in that sentence, but really there are six or seven of them on the field. Anything can happen, and it probably will.

    • The jury is certainly still out on the offense, but way, waaayyyyy more credit needs to be given to the guy on the mound.

      Samardija has the 5th lowest ERA of any starter in the national league since last June. The best lineup money could buy was held to two hits over eight innings by Madison Bumgarner last night and Samardija has been better than him across the board.

      The fact that the offense imediately began to produce once he was pulled should mean at least something.

      • I certainly do agree with you about Samardzija . . . but the feel of the game just got me thinking about the way I felt all last year. So many times if we got a run or two ahead it was up to the pitching staff to hold it because there was a good chance it wouldn’t happen again. You pretty much have to lead the league in pitching to make the playoffs with the kind of offense we have; but we seem to be willing to sacrifice a great deal of offense for a little bit of defense at too many positions.

        • We built the 16 game over .500 record last year with some pretty good offense. Lots of homers and Cutch batting lights out.

          • Even with a few individuals shining, team offense was pretty much bottom half of the majors through most of the season, good BA, poor OBP, poor SLG, poor OPS. Basically little production from C, SS, 2/3 of the outfield when Jones wasn’t in, and at 3rd we Dr. Pedro and Mr. Hyde.

            Of course I’m dealing with the way it felt to me, so you could be right — but to me it felt like it was just enough. A ten run game was a pretty rare event, as was a five game winning streak.

            But somehow they were managing to win. I credit pitching. But whatever the source, if it happens again and lasts all year I’ll take it.

          • Through May we were a 500 team. June and July we were 15 games over .500. June and July we scored the most runs of any other months.

  57. Now Adam Hall has been claimed on waivers by the Flyers. I hope he hasn’t unpacked.

  58. Dear lord people…its ONE game. Only In Pittsburgh could fans be talking about making trades after losing the first game in over a month.

    And we think Jagr and Barrasso were the #*&holes……sheesh….

    • I agree Patrick. The boys were due for a loss sooner than later. But I just cringe every time I see TK on the ice. He’s a momentum killer.

  59. Great work on the piece on Vokoun Dejan. Yes, it was disappointing for the streak to end like it did (whimper, not bang), but I guess the boys were just out of emotional gas (which is not surprising given how the Isles game played out).

    I think the Vokoun signing was so smart in so many ways. The on-ice competence is one thing, but I think even more important, Flower has benefitted from Tomas’s mentoring. Brent was a great team guy and peer but I think Fleury really needed what Tomas brings to the team. Man, Ray is really gifted – just another highly skilled part of the entire system.

    Hope all has gone well or continues to go well with your mother’s surgery. Make sure she listens to and abides by what her PT tells her in recovery – very important!

    • Excellent post Sherry and I also would like to extend only the best to DK and his family.
      That just made me think of something else. I haven’t seen any TV shots of Mr.and Mrs. Malkin this year. Anyone know if they are here in the US or still back home?

  60. All this talk about MLB payrolls made me remember the last time a team w/ a low payroll won the world series was the Marlins back in 2003. I didn’t realize that it will be one full decade since that took place this year. Once a decade isn’t going to cut it. I really wish that MLB would have enacted real revenue sharing in lieu of an extended playoff.

    • They do have real revenue sharing. Its why Jim Crane is sitting in Houston buying platinum dog collars with John W Henry’s money.

      If you meant restructuring the nature of their current revenue sharing system so that the profiteering that exists comes to an end…then Yes. I wholeheartedly agree.

      • I might be wrong but doesn’t MLB share just 20% of revenue? IMO, they have to share at the very least twice that amount to produce a level playing field. That is what I meant when I said MLB doesn’t have real revenue sharing.

        • I think (Think mind you) that that 20% are things that are collectively earned, such as MLB revenue. Such as the sales from merchandise sold on MLB.com, 80% would go to the team whose merchandise is being sold the other 20% is split up into 29 equal pieces.

          The ‘real’ revenue sharing they have basically takes $ from teams that spend over a certain amount each year (it varies) and splits that up among the lower revenue teams, based on how little they spend in relation to how much the top teams get.

          The problem is there are very few rules on HOW that money that small market teams receive is spent. Smaller market teams (like Pittsburgh) are basically guaranteed to make a profit. Simply put, the less they spend, the more they make. Its MLB welfare, not profit sharing.

          And just like real life, this system breeds..how to put it lightly….well, it on occasion can breed a certain amount of “comfortable apathy” towards effort.

          • “Simply put, the less they spend, the more they make. Its MLB welfare, not profit sharing.”

            That’s not true. It is based on gross revenue.

  61. Pitt forward Steven Adams, who is a freshman, has declared for the NBA draft.

  62. I’m going out on a limb today…

    Bucs win today! Back to .500 ball!

    Everyone is happy! Everyone is in great shape. Hurdle is making all the right moves. And everyone thinks this could be the year!!!

    But then something terrible happens…They lose tomorrow and we are back to today.

  63. Well NBC has traded Jay Leno for Jimmy Fallon. New York gets a future 1st rounder in the deal. Other than that, NHL trade deadline day has been very quiet ith 90 minutes to go.

  64. Pens get Jussi Jokinen for conditional pick.

    • 59.4% on faceoffs.

      • Not sure if I like this deal. Just a conditional pick, but he has one year with a cap hit of $3M left on his contract.

        • They need forwards next year. Plus they still haven’t used their amnesty buyout.

          • We could have claimed him off waivers LAST week for nuttin!

            • Sid wasn’t hurt last week.

            • Hi Jandy — I’m not sure if the new CBA has changed in this regard, but I believe if we claimed him off waivers we would be responsible for his salary (pro-rated) and the equivalent cap hit. With this trade, my understanding is that we were able to negotiate Carolina picking up some of his salary for the remainder of the season. So we may have gotten a better deal through the trade than through waivers. If anyone can chime in as to whether the new CBA has altered this, please do. But I’d have to defer to the BMTIH that they got a better deal. Not a bad pick up, by the way.

              • Bob McKenzie is reporting that some cash is involved in the deal.

              • Casper, I’m the first to admit I don’t know everything about how salaries go with trades and waivers. Now there’s cash involved. Weird. Jokinen isn’t bad, but we have Vitale who I believe is just as good if not better, and he’s cheaper, and he’s sitting on the bench. But hey, maybe Jokinen can kill penalties. I dunno.

              • Besides, SOMEONE has to pick on Milo once in a while, or he’ll think he’s special or something ;)

            • I’m with you, Jandy. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the CBA when it comes to waivers either. However, I do know that I have a ton of faith in Ray Shero and company to make good deals.

              As for getting on Milo, have at it. While I don’t post too often (I can count on one hand…), I read this blog religiously and absolutely love the banter among a lot of you. It adds a lot of humor to my day. So keep on keepin’ on.

              • Come more often, Casper, and I’ll pick on you, too ;)

              • this posted above and didn’t want it to get lost in the shuffle. I’m a newbie at trying to figure out this blog format. I do miss the numbers on the old one.

                Saweeet! I actually laughed at that and my office mate wanted to know what was so funny. Now I truly feel like a lunatic!

              • Well, you ARE one ;)
                The blog should post chronologically, especially if you click to reply to someone.
                Yesterday it was really messed up.

    • Iginla’s just relieved it’s not his brother. :)

    • weird deal, he’s a winger for most part with only 138 draws

    • If Jokinen plays 25% of all Pens 2013 playoff game & Pens make it to the finals – Hurricanes get 7th round pick.

    • Atleast they finally picked up someone non-canadian. The way they kept wearing those blue jerseys out seems like we were considering changing our names to Pittsburgh Canadeleafs!

  65. I’d like to ask Jay Lustig (behind closed doors) what it feels like to invest in a MLB team, only to find yourself an investor in a corporation that is based around something else.
    Obviously, he tired of it.

  66. Dejan is on TribLive Sports Talk right now…Will assume surgery went well!

  67. Rice Fired at Rutgers. DK called it.

  68. Ben Bishop traded to Tampa. Flyers were in on that until the end. Still trying to replace Ron Hextall.

  69. CBJ takes Marian Gaborik off Rangers hands. That never quite worked out, huh ?

  70. Dk,

    Just sending some well wishes for your mother. My dad had quintuple bypass surgery in the middle of Jan. so I understand somewhat what you’re going through. Hopefully, all went well and it’s just onto recovery & rehab.

    Tell your mom to get well soon.

    We need our favorite columnist at PNC!

    • Woah, Nate, qunituple…that’s 5??? Wow. God bless him!

      • Yup. It was kinda nuts, but he’s doing pretty good now. Only issue is circulation in his 1 hand is funky b/c of where they took 1 of the veins in his wrist. Dr. said it could take up to 6 months though before it’s better.

        Thanks for the well wishes Jandy…even if we disgree on those Buccos!

        And here’s to raising the Jolly Roger tonite and getting to .500 for the 1st and last (hopefully ;-) ) time this year!

        • Nate, life’s too short to be upset over something we can’t control like on a blog. Hope your Dad’s around to see the Buccos have a winning season. :)

  71. Didn’t see it mentioned up above … But I might have missed it. Ray didn’t pick up Jokinen on waivers for free, because Carolina is picking up some of that $3M.

  72. Luongo watch is officially on. 3 minutes to go.

  73. Do the hockey experts around here think that in a year or so Shero will have to start trading some veterans to recoup some of the draft picks he’s traded away?

    Or is our farm system stocked at the present time?
    And is the draft ‘over valued’?

    • To be honest Thunder, I’d like to see exactly what picks they’ll have in this year’s draft. So many picks have come & gone in the last year or so I really don’t know where they stand.

    • Change a few words and it would be a good baseball question — but the discussion would be a lot different.

  74. I’m a little shocked by what Buffalo got from the Wild.

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